As a former public official, I know the frustration of working with environmental groups, especially those that splinter off and refuse to be bound by hard-won compromise. However, environmental groups, like all citizen-action groups, provide an important service to commissions and boards. These groups inform the boards of the unforeseen, and perhaps unintended, consequences of proposed actions. After many bitter experiences, I came to understand that these groups will tell you if you are about to “walk off the cliff.” Boards and commissions may still choose to do so, but they can’t say they weren’t warned.
Non-profit citizen action committees represent one point of view in our county. They do not, as characterized by Michelle Luke, dictate planning decisions. Boards and commissions must balance their decisions in the public interest. They have only themselves to blame if they abdicate their responsibilities to any citizen-action group.
The relationship with Re Sources does not appear to be a grant, but a contract for specific services, that is, educating elementary students. County government must have some way of auditing and holding contractors accountable for how public funds are used. It is a slippery slope to refuse to contract with a proven producer because you don’t like their politics.
As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”